PB Review: WILD STYLE

Posted January 14, 2021 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Picture Book Review

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Author, Jenna Grodzicki, offers readers a new way of showing off a “wild style.” This book is about creatures found in nature that dress up themselves in unusual ways. Their style is definitely unconventional. Wild Style:  Amazing Animal Adornments is filled with colorful photographs that beg to be carefully examined. These extraordinary creatures have adapted to their environment in exotic ways. There’s the assassin bug that protects itself with a pile of dead ants on its back. A carrier crab carries a sea urchin on its back to keep predators away. And readers will love learning about the golden tortoise beetle larva that covers itself with poop! Jenna Grodzicki cleverly introduces readers to a variety of animal adornments that are as fascinating as they are unusual. Dress up your bookshelves with this stylish book!

PB Review: Bird Hugs

Posted January 7, 2021 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Picture Book Review

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Bird Hugs written and illustrated by Ged Adamson, Two Lions, 2020.

Bernard, the bird, has a problem. His friends have all left the nest and flown away, but Bernard can’t. He is different than his bird friends. His oversized wings hang to the ground. They’re too heavy to fly. Bernard tries everything to get his wings working, but he has no luck. One day he hears a sob from none other than an orangutan. Bernard uses his oversized wings to give him a hug. The orangutan immediately feels better – much better. Soon everyone wants a hug from Bernard. They tell him their problems. Bernard listens and gives them a hug. With each hug, Bernard’s wings become stronger. With his new strength, he knows he can fly. Bernard tries again and again with no luck. He finally has the strength to realize flying isn’t everything – especially when you have friends. Ged Adamson‘s text and humorous illustrations are filled with heart and include a surprise ending that readers won’t want to miss!

Onward to 2021

Posted December 31, 2020 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Holidays

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It’s time to leave the woes of 2020 behind and look forward to the possibilities 2021 has to offer.

If you believe, anything is possible!

December Holidays

Posted December 24, 2020 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Holidays

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Peeking in to say…

from our house to yours…

Merry Christmas!

Thoughts of the 2020 Fiasco

Posted December 17, 2020 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Life

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2020 began as a promising year, but before we knew it – BAM!

COVID-19 burrowed into every part of our lives.

March of this year COVID rules separated us from family and friends. April: The Easter Bunny came, but the family didn’t. May:  Mother’s Day – another day of COVID rules. June:  Father’s Day – a repeat of Mother’s Day.

Then came a reality check. The pandemic wasn’t going away anytime soon.

Boredom took over as my husband and I settled into uninspiring daily tasks. Breakfast conversations revolved around what to have for dinner. Weekly grocery shopping shifted to early morning once every three weeks. COVID words slipped into our vocabulary – social distancing, herd immunity, super spreader, surge. Hairstyles and clothes morphed into “THE COVID LOOK” – not pretty!

Toward the end of June – cabin fever struck! We had to get out!

Wearing masks and carrying a cache of hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes, we ventured out to see our daughter and family. No hugs. No kisses. But a welcome sight!

By July we formed our family bubble. Hugs and kisses allowed. Masks and social distancing be damned!  In August, September, and October we were on a high with babysitting and family get-togethers. Then…

BAM! A second surge!

Back to stay-at-home rules with no travel between our respective states. In November, my husband and I ate our tiny turkey gobbler in our ultra-quiet dining room. And now it’s December and COVID-19 is once again interfering with our precious family gatherings. Yesterday we did a socially distanced stop & drop and exchanged Christmas gifts at the parking lot where my daughter works. Once again our holiday plans are dinner for two at home. Santa, where are you?

Maybe someday I will get a professional haircut, buy some new clothes, and break out of this house to celebrate with family, friends, and neighbors without all the COVID rules. Maybe someday that vaccine will be available for everyone. Maybe someday we can call our lives normal once again.

Don’t forget to wash your hands!

For those of you who have had to deal with COVID-19 or other illnesses during this year, I send you healing thoughts and prayers. May 2021 bring all of us joy, good health, and happiness – a Christmas miracle!

The last thought…

As some of you may have noticed, there was no post from me last Thursday. Blame it on a busy day and COVID-19 fatigue!

Happy Holidays!

PB Review: THE BOY and the GORILLA

Posted December 3, 2020 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Picture Book Review

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The Boy and the Gorilla written by Jackie Azúa Kramer and illustrated by Cindy Derby, Candlewick, 2020.

The Boy and the Gorilla took me by surprise. This touching story written by Jackie Azúa Kramer with illustrations by Cindy Derby brought tears to my eyes. After the death of his mother, a young boy is consumed with grief. Not knowing who to turn to, he finds comfort in a gorilla that happens to appear. The gorilla stays with the boy and patiently answers questions about the loss of his mother. The gorilla offers friendship and empathy as the boy goes through the stages of mourning. When the boy sees his dad is sad, too, he finds the courage to reach out to his dad and tell him how he feels. The two come together to share their grief, and the gorilla fades into the distance. Cindy Derby’s use of soft muted colors with sprinkles of brighter colors perfectly capture the essence of the story. Derby’s art and the simplicity of Jackie Azúa Kramer’s heartrending story are perfect for a child who has loved and lost someone special in their life. This is a beautiful book to have when the need comes.

Home for the Holidays

Posted November 26, 2020 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Special Days

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COVID-19 is making itself a disastrous nuisance throughout the country as doctors and local officals plead with citizens to shelter in place during this holiday season. I guess the song, “Home for the Holidays” is very appropriate this year. Since many of us are stuck at home with no place to go, I thought I’d inject a bit of humor into this unusual Thanksgiving.  

“What we’re really talking about is a wonderful day set aside on the fourth Thursday of November when no one diets. I mean, why else would they call it Thanksgiving?” ~Erma Bombeck

“Thanksgiving—when the people who are the most thankful are the ones who didn’t have to cook.” ~Melanie White



“There’s always something to be thankful for on Thanksgiving. Even if it’s just not being a turkey.” ~Unkown

My good friend, Amelia Bedelia, gave me some tips on how to dress a turkey. She’s such a character!

“May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey be plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have nary a lump.
May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize,
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!”

~Anonymous

However you celebrate this Thanksgiving, I wish you happiness. Be safe, be thankful, and hope the COVID-19 vaccine comes soon.

The Festival of Diwali

Posted November 19, 2020 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Special Days

Tags: , ,

Last Saturday, our neighbor sent an email to surrounding neighbors letting us know that his family would be celebrating the first night of Diwali, the festival of lights. They graciously invited us to come and enjoy their fireworks display. When we arrived, the entrance to their home was decorated with bright white lights. Neighbors stood, socially distanced, at the end of their driveway and watched as fireworks lit up the sky. It was an unexpected treat.

Not being familiar with the festival of Diwali, I did a little research. It happens to be India’s biggest and most important holiday of the year. It’s a festival of lights that lasts for five days and is celebrated by the Hindu faith and others. The name comes from the clay lamps Indians use to light the outside of their homes. The lights celebrate the power of good over evil. Each day involves special tasks. Food, fireworks, dressing up in their finest clothes, colored sand, and special lights and candles are all a part of the festival.

Of course, there is much more to learn about Diwali, but I’ll leave that up to you. Here are a few books to introduce young readers to this joyful celebration.

Binny’s Diwali written by Thrity Umrigar and illustrated by Nidhi Chanani, Scholastic Press, 2020.

Diwali: The Magical Diyas written by Anitha Rathod, Independently Published, 2019.

Baby’s First Diwali DK Children Board Book, 2019

Thank You for Your Service!

Posted November 12, 2020 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Special Days

Tags: , ,

I realize yesterday was Veterans Day, but we can never thank our veterans enough for the sacrifices they’ve made for our country.

Remembering my dad who served in the Army Air Corps as First Lieutenant, navigating B-29 bombers, and was a member of the 505th Bombardment Group that was based on Tinian Island.

“It doesn’t take a hero to order men into battle. It takes a hero to be one of those men who goes into battle.”- – General H. Norman Schwarzkopf

Halloween – Change of Plans

Posted November 5, 2020 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Life and Family

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Each year, our granddaughters come to our house to trick-or-treat in our neighborhood. This year, there was a change of plans due to COVID-19. Instead of trick-or-treating, we decided to go on a Halloween Hunt in our yard. With a list of clues and hidden treat bags, disappointment quickly changed to smiles and laughter.

Some sample clues. 

FACE THE HOUSE.

LOOK RIGHT.

GO TO THE FIRST BIG ROCK.

COUNT THREE MORE BIG ROCKS.

LOOK FOR A WITCH HAT.

PICK UP YOUR TREAT.

WE’RE GOING ON A HALLOWEEN HUNT!

READ THE NEXT CLUE.

TWEET LIKE A BIRD.

GO TO THE BIRDBATH IN THE BACKYARD.

 LOOK FOR THE GOURD.

PICK UP YOUR TREAT.

 WE’RE GOING ON A HALLOWEEN HUNT!

READ THE NEXT CLUE.

Distributor of the clues and treats in the snowy yard.

The Halloween Hunt Crew

LAST CLUE:

GO TO THE FRONT DOOR OF MIMI AND POPPY’S HOUSE.

RING THE DOORBELL.

SAY,

“TRICK-OR-TREAT!”

YOUR CHEESY MUMMY DINNER IS WAITING FOR YOU!

Dinner menu:  Mummy Hot Dogs, Mac and Cheese, Beastly Beans, Ghostly Treats

Pumpkin Gallery

Halloween jokes and trivia were part of our dinner conversation. Before the girls went to bed, we turned off  the lights. With glow sticks in hand, the girls danced their wild Halloween dance!

Halloween Success!


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